In memory: Birgit Ljunggren Sweden, and perhaps the world's oldest Salvation Army officer, Brigadier Birgit Ljunggren has passed away at the age of 107.
She was Promoted to Glory from her home in Ekbackens retirement home in Linköping near her beloved Salvation Army corps in the city.
Birgit was born in Stockholm in 1909 and grew up in a foster family in Vasastan. When she finished elementary school Birgit worked as a maid. A Salvation Army officer sold the Army’s newspaper The War Cry to the family where Birgit worked and invited the young maid to the Salvation Army at Tomtebogatan. There, she came to faith. She told how she listened to the ‘slum sisters’ and knew that she wanted to become one.
At twenty-four, she began her officer training at what was then called the Salvation Army War College in Stockholm. As an officer she worked her entire life in social work as a slum sister at the Salvation Army's slum stations and orphanages in many different locations, from Malmö in the south to Malmberget in the north. She retired in 1970. Birgit told of her rich experiences especially among the many children she had known over the years. She continues to have prolonged contact with many of them.
A sharp intellect, a good memory and a great love for our fellow human beings made her something of a living legend.
As a pensioner Birgit moved back to Linköping where she previously served. There she engaged again in the Salvation Army Corps, whose worship she visited up to 100 years of age. She also celebrated her 100th birthday there.
Often she came to the soup lunches organized for the homeless and shared with the guests the rolls she baked. The last time Birgit was 101 years old. As an active slum sister during a bygone era, she was not used to thinking of herself and her own interests, but liked to bake and assist in the work.